Friday, October 17, 2014

The Liberal Arts Tradition - An Introduction

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This post contains an affiliate link to the book we are discussing.

Oh, how I am excited to be starting the discussion of The Liberal Arts Tradition!  Why am I so excited?  It is because in the past six months I feel like my eyes are being opened to a greater understanding of classical education, but I know that I still have so much more to learn.  This book is going to help me (and you, hopefully!) gain some of that knowledge.

What is Classical Education?

If you were to ask me a year or two about what classical education is, I would have started talking about the trivium.  Most people I have talked to equate the trivium with classical education.  I am learning that the trivium is only a small (none the less vital) part of what classical education is.  Here is a diagram I made to show you what I mean:

Now, am I saying that the above diagram is complete?  No.   Am I missing other aspects of classical education?  Probably.  Am I  an all-knowing expert on this issue?  Absolutely not!  What I hope this diagram does is help you to see that the Trivium is just a small part of classical education.  It is an important part, but it is not enough.  That is something that I am just learning.  Won't you learn along with me?

This book seeks to present "a vision of the liberal arts as a central part of a larger and more robust paradigm of Christian classical education." (pg. 2)

The Six Curricular Categories of Classical Education

The first chapter is an introduction to the book and explains a little about each of these other spheres of classical education.  This was all new to me, so let me briefly explain them:

  • Piety - The proper love and fear of God and man.

  • Theology - The science of Scripture.

  • Gymnastic - Training the body and mind to have the virtue of an athlete.

  • Music - An education in wonder.

  • The Liberal Arts -  The seven skills encompassed in the Trivium and Quadrivium.

  • Philosophy -  The love of wisdom and the unity of knowledge in natural, moral, and divine reality.

Some of these words are defined differently than we are used to in our modern vernacular.  We are creating new categories of thinking, friends!   I am excited to learn more about each of these things.  Starting next Friday we will take one of these aspects of classical education per week and dive deeper into it.

This week I want to leave you with a passage that Dr. Perrin wrote in the "Note from the Publisher."  I think it is a beautiful description of how classical education is being rediscovered.

In the reading of dozens of books on classical education, I often experience the exercise in a kind of dream state.  I find myself catching glimpses of things that I know are a part of a great whole, as if I once knew that whole but can't quite remember it.  When another book restores some great part of that whole, I put that part into place with a flash of recognition---as it fits into place I recognize that I once knew it.

Have you gotten The Liberal Arts Tradition Yet?


What are your thoughts on this bigger picture of classical education? 

Thanks for reading along this week!  What did you think of this chapter?  Leave comments here on the blog post, or share about it on social media (#ClassicalMamasRead).  I'll be sharing too, so follow me on facebook, twitter, or google+ and we can chat about it there as well!  Don't forget, if you want to share your thoughts about Home Education on your own blog, link it up below so we can all come and visit!

Next week we will look at the subject of Piety in The Liberal Arts Tradition.  If you haven't gotten your own copy yet, make sure you grab a copy so you can join in on our discussions soon!

Classical Mamas Read Link-Up

Did you write about The Liberal Arts Tradition on your blog?  Have you been reading and blogging about another book (for you, not a children's book)?  Do you have a book club going on at your blog (once again, not for a children's book)?  I'd love for you link up here so we can all be encouraged by each other and maybe find another great book to read!

I'm going to keep this link-up ongoing since there aren't going to be a huge number of posts and then anyone new will be able to be encouraged by the other book reading ideas and discussions.  If the number of posts gets too large, I will fix it.

Please note, all posts must be on topic (about a book you are reading) and appropriate (think family friendly).

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